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RE: A sad day in Paleontology
His academic influence is felt throughout the vertebrate paleontological
community. There are today Ph.D. students who are Colbert's student's
student's student's students. (Tracing backwards, the students of Larry
Witmer (a student of Dave Weishampel (a student of Peter Dodson (a student
of John Ostrom (a student of Ned Colbert))))).
Colbert worked with many of the luminaries of the latest 19th and early 20th
Century (Barbour, and especially H.F. Osborn). His autobiography A
Fossil-Hunter?s Notebook is great reading for people interested in the life
of this great guy.
As an example of how much Colbert linked different historical periods
of vertebrate paleontology, it's because of him that my Darwin Number
I met Dr. Colbert once or twice. Colbert worked for Osborn. Osborn
studied under T.H. Huxley, and claimed that at one point, Darwin
himself made an appearance and Osborn got to shake his hand. So
two people - Colbert and Osborn - stand between Charles Darwin and me.
Colbert was also part of the last generation of paleontologists who
could develop expertise in several groups of animals simultaneously.
Christopher A. Brochu
Department of Geoscience
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242